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Chapter 9::
The Consequence 

September flew by in a blur as Hogwarts carried on as usual. Onyx Raven was a hit at Hogwarts. Slytherin students loved her, Gryffindors did not mess with her, Hufflepuffs were terrified of her, and Ravenclaw stayed out of her way. Every single girl that Hermione has come across wanted to be as tough as Onyx Raven. She was what their mums told them was bad, and yet it was so exhilarating to imagine it as a possibility. 

As October began to float by nearly unnoticed, Hermione was having mixed feelings about her new life. She was excited and happy that she found people who respected her instead of insulted her. She was sad and depressed that she couldn't spend time with her true family, the friends that stood by her ever since she was eleven years old.
Granted, she still had Dumbledore and McGonagall and they were great. But, at the end of the day, it just doesn't add up the way it's supposed to. She missed the nights in the Gryffindor common room where she'd sit with Ron and Harry doing homework or even playing chess. Being a Slytherin was great, but dangerous all at the same time. 

It was October 21st. The last two months seemed to go by in a blur. Hermione had down a routine now, one that made her feel comfortable in Slytherin. She'd wake up in the morning, do her morning jog, take a shower, dress, eat with Pansy, Draco, and Blaise (well… Crabbe and Goyle too…), go to class, and be totally laid back along the way. No one would dare question her if she did something out of character, like read a lot of books (She'd claim she was wondering what about the wizarding world she missed.) or get all of the answers right in class that day (She'd refer back to all of the reading she did, claiming she wanted to be caught up with all of her friends.)
The one problem that Hermione didn't anticipate came right before midnight on October 21st. 

Hermione was making some great headway with the Princes of Slytherin. They were eating out of the palm of her hand, both battling for her attention. They were still best friends, but as they say, all is fair in love and war. Her plan was going perfectly. By her and Dumbledore's calculations, she'd choose the one she'd pursue and meet his parents by Christmas time. 

Fate, it seemed, did not agree with her. 

It was 11:53pm when it happened. Hermione thought she was alone in the common room as all of the other students went to bed hours ago for their big Hogsmeade trip the next morning. Having waited two hours after everyone else went to bed; she thought the coast would be clear. Clear enough that she could shed a few tears by the warm fire. 

She never thought that Draco would come downstairs to think after a particularly terrible nightmare. Nor did she think he'd get the chance to see her tears and hear her soft sobs before she acknowledged his presence. 


His soft, worried voice hit her ears like a hammer. Quickly, she wiped the tears off her cheeks as fast as possible before turning around to see him standing just off to the left. 

"Draco? What are you doing awake at this time of night?" 

He raised an eyebrow at her question. "I couldn't sleep, but I should ask you the same question. Except, I can see why you're down here so late. What's bothering you, love?"
This was terrible. Not only had Draco come down to see her cry, but he caught her totally off guard. She didn't know what to say. She could only think of one thing to do.
Bail. "Oh, you know what, I forgot that I have to get up early tomorrow. Costume shopping and all, so I'll…uhm…catch you later?" 

As she stood up and tried to make it to the girl's staircase, she knew her response was pathetic, but she didn't have anything else. Not to mention that he was seeing her scantily dressed. Tonight her pajamas consisted of nothing but a black t-shirt. The word Rebel across the front. Other then that and her knickers, she was pretty much going starkers. 

The funny thing was, Draco didn't even notice or look down. He just stared her in the eye with concern as his hand grabbed her arm to stop her. "Don't run from me anymore. I know you've been avoiding me, now tell me what's wrong. Please." 

His voice was so soft, so sincere that Hermione found herself completely softened by it. Like butter on a frying pan. It was making her sizzle. The bad there was that it was making her careless. "I miss my family." 

The moment it was out of her mouth, she knew she'd made a mistake. Worried, she looked up into his eyes, to see if she could spot suspicion. Unfortunately, it was worse. He didn't look suspicious or annoyed… 

He looked like…like… he cared. "I'm sorry, love. Want to talk to me about it?" 

As she was about to say no, like she very well should've, something stopped her. Maybe it was the look in his eyes or even the way her heartbeat picked up speed at his silky voice. All she knew, was that she suddenly wanted to be comforted. Not by Dumbledore or McGonagall, Pansy or Blaise. She wanted to be comforted by the one guy who made her feel like she was cared for…Draco. 

"Alright." Her voice was low and cracked as she spoke. 

She let him lead her back to the couch she had just vacated. As she sat, she curled her legs beneath her, to make sure he didn't get a good peak. Not like he seemed to care about that sort of thing at all right now. Really, what kind of 17 year old boy was he? Instead, he sat down next to her and laid her head on his shoulder where she curled up along his side. It was like she was a heat junky and he had the best source in town. Not to mention that he smelled amazing… like warm honey drizzled over a warm croissant. 

"Whenever you are ready." His hand smoothed down her long hair. 

She didn't know where to start. She'd have to follow the guidelines of her new life that she once made months ago. But, in this situation, she'd have to throw in a few details that were not planned on. To make matters worse, she'd have to remember them later. She made a quick mental note to write them down when she was alone. 

Here goes nothing… "You know about how I came to live on the streets. But one thing I never told you guys, was that I had a family. Not one like you guys. But, people that were close enough to be my family. They lived in a little apartment, not far from Paris. They found me one day when I was breaking into their garage, hoping to find something to hock off for money. It was two people. A man and his wife. At first I was terrified. I thought they were going to turn me in. But, they didn't." 

A few seconds of silence passed. This story wasn't really false. It happened to a girl in a muggle book Hermione read. So she pulled out different facts of the story out of her head. Draco seemed intrigued. "What did they do?" 

"They made a deal with me," She took in a deep breath, to make it seem like this were painful to talk about. "They said that they wouldn't call the officials as long as I would come in and have breakfast with them." Hermione let out a little laugh at that statement. "They told me it was insulting to them to have a young teenager in their backyard that looked like she was going to drop dead from starvation any moment."
"That… is different." Draco didn't seem to understand that kind of behavior. 

"It was." Hermione agreed. "But, I said yes, to avoid the officials. What I didn't expect was to get along with these two so well. I even went back, three times a week for three years. They were like my parents. They always cared for me. Then, one day, a wizard broke into their home. Said that they were in the way. That muggles were filth. At the time I didn't know what that meant." She was changing the muggle story just a bit. 

"What happened then?" 

"I'm not sure. All I know was that they were killed somehow, with no known cause of death. I was the one who found them. That's where Dumbledore found me." Her body shook as she thought of the similar situations between her story and real life where the old Headmaster found her in the home with her real parents dead bodies.
"How did he find you?" Draco seemed to be deep in thought. 

"For years I knew I could do magic. Hid it from everyone, but I knew it. I practiced and practiced until I could control it. But, when I saw their bodies, my power went out of control. Couches caught fire, the house started to shake. I didn't know what was going on but Dumbledore did. He explained everything to me. Asked me if I wanted to come here. I jumped at the opportunity. Anything to get away from Paris. I vowed to myself that I would never get close to anyone again. I convinced myself that muggles were awful. They had to be to hurt me so bad when they did when they left me. Nothing good could ever cause that much hurt. I was already cold and callused when I was with them, but the moment they died, I gave up on trying to be a good little girl. I just want to be free." 

Draco pondered over the intensity of her words, while Hermione did the same. She had no intention of the story taking that route but it did anyway. She even found that she liked how it ended. It gave her a weird sense of closure somehow. 

"Raven?" Draco whispered and touched her cheek, turning her face to his. "You'll never have to worry about losing me. If you let me in, I'll always be there. Not matter what. You can trust that." 

Hermione frowned, she did not like where this was going. "You don't know th—" 

She was cut off by Draco's warm lips on hers. This kiss was not like the first time they kissed. No, this was different. This was pure and undiluted need, passion. It was as if everything he felt about her was pulled into this one moment. His lips crushed hers, on the borderline of pain and pleasure. Their tongues fought for dominance. 

Hermione was so gone that she didn't even realize it when she was laid back onto the couch, Draco on top of her. His hands weren't grabbing to touching where most guys would. His hands were too busy. One was holding her face, scared to let her go as the other held him above her so he didn't crush her with his weight. 

What he didn't understand was that she wanted his weight on her. All of it. So, with that in mind, she broke the kiss and gasped for air. The lack of air would explain why she was suddenly lightheaded and dizzy… or maybe that was just Draco. When she opened her eyes, she saw him staring at her, hurt on his face. He thought she was turning him down again. However, she wasn't. With a small smile, she put both of her hands on his face, contorting her body so that he was between her thighs. She had no intention of going anywhere near all the way, but she wanted to be comfortable at least. 

She slowly slid her hands down his face, his neck, down his shoulders. He trembled beneath her caress. It wasn't anything near sexual… but it was the most intimate contact the two have had together. Once her hands made it to his elbows, she made a quick move by hitting his elbow lightly, causing his arm to slip, landing all of his weight on her. It was a pleasant, warm feeling of pressure that Hermione loved. Satisfied, she pulled his face down for another kiss. This one, demanding more.
They snogged well into the night, not going any farther then that. Hermione wasn't able to think at all, unable to consider the consequences… however, the moment she wakes up, she'll realize just what those are. Unfortunately, by then, it will be too late. For as the two fell asleep by the fire, they were already completely and unconditionally in love… 

They just didn't know it yet. 

The next morning, Hermione found that she woke up rather refreshed. She didn't know why, but she liked it. As she began to stretch, she finally noticed the warm body behind her own. Puzzled, she turned her head and nearly shrieked in surprise. Draco Malfoy was laying right behind her. Then as the night slowly floated back to her memory, she found herself smiling. Sometime during their snog fest, they had fallen asleep on the couch, Draco's arm protectively wrapped around Hermione's tiny waist. 

With a light sigh, she turned her body around, putting her face to face with the sleeping prince. His breathing was light, showing he was still in deep sleep. It also made him look so vulnerable and innocent that she found herself feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Never in a million years did she expect to see Draco Malfoy looking innocent. Deciding that she would let him sleep a little longer, she began to explore his features.
Through the years, Hermione always thought of Draco with a pasty, pale complexion. Now that she had a really good look at him, she could see this was not the case. His skin looked creamy instead of pale, and healthy not sallow. There were no freckles or any other sun damage on his face, and as his hair fell into his sleeping face she felt compelled to run her hand across his cheek. However, as she made to do just that, something caught her eye. A slight discoloration of his skin was visible at the side of his neck, right above the neckline of his shirt. Perplexed, Hermione lightly ran her fingers over the mark, finding it was loose with a different texture then the rest of his skin. This meant it to be one thing. 

A scar. 

This intrigued Hermione slightly, in an uncomfortable way. For some unknown reason to her, she didn't like knowing Draco was hurt that way. So, to make herself feel better, she lifted up the line of his shirt with the intention of seeing his scar end. Since the shirt was already loose on him, it was easy to lift up enough to see his shoulder and chest without waking him. However, what she saw was not what she expected. What she thought would be the end of the scar was really the beginning of another one. A lot more even. 

Hermione was horrified to find that Draco's entire shoulder and chest was covered in scars. Some were big and some where small. She expected that some of them were from Harry's testing of the spell Sectumsempra he found in Snape's old potions book. Something that Hermione found very upsetting right at this moment. That aside, Hermione knew that that spell would not have done this much damage. Someone else must have done this and Hermione could guess who that was. The one man she was meant to spy on as soon as she got initiated into his ranks. 

Suddenly, Hermione got sick to her stomach. If Voldemort was willing to do this to one of his own faithful followers, what was he willing to do to a new member. This scared her beyond belief and she found herself wondering if this task was worth all of this for. Not only did she lose her parents, but she also lost her friends and house as well. Now, here she was. A new person that she would never have spoken to in her old life and falling in love with a Slyther- 

The shock of what she just thought froze her in her movement, her eyes growing wide as panic seized her heart. She couldn't be in love with a Slytherin. That just wasn't allowed and definitely against her rules, the rules she made for herself. And besides, if she was willing to fall in love with a Slytherin it couldn't be this one, the one that tried to ruin her life time and time again. The one she hated with every molecule of her body. The one she never wanted to interact with. 

As she began listing all of the reasons why she couldn't love him, another part of her mind was finally speaking up. "Oh, you can't love him? Can't love his sweet smile, sexy smirk, beautiful face, or strong athletic build?' 

'That isn't the point, I know he looks good. But, that doesn't change what he is.' 

'That's true. But, you know somewhere deep down that it's more then his looks. It's the way he smiles when you walk by. The way he watches your every move to make sure you're alright. It's that when you sat there last night wearing practically nothing and he never looked away from your eyes. You know that the boy is more then in love with you. He respects you, fears you, protects you, and doesn't even care that you seem unwilling to be with him. And yet, here he is. Waiting for you, because you are worth the wait.' Hermione hated arguing with herself… especially if she's battling the side that has a very good point. 'That doesn't matter though. It doesn't matter that my heart nearly beats through my chest when he walks by or that he is the most wonderful guy I have ever met. It doesn't even matter if I am in love with him-which I'm not-because he doesn't love me. He loves Onyx Raven.' 

'Even if that is true, Onyx Raven is a part of you. If you love him-which you do-then show him the real you. You don't even have to tell him your Hermione Granger. You can just show him who you are inside. I guarantee that he'll still love you either way.' 

Hermione's mind a swirling with thoughts as Draco remained sleeping next to her. Then, as he let out a sigh in his sleep, her thoughts stopped cold. As she watched his adjust his body to make her as comfortable as possible, she couldn't deny the truth. She was in love with every single part of this boy. Right at this moment, it didn't matter if he didn't love all of who she was. If he really love at least a small part of her, that was enough for now. 

Sliding her hand up his neck, she brushed his hair out of his face so that his lips were visible. With a smile, she leaned her face forward, lightly pressing her lips against his. At first, his warm lips remained immobile. Then, as he started to acknowledge her kiss, he slowly started to kiss her back, molding his lips onto hers. The more awake he got, the deeper the kiss got. 

A laugh escaped Hermione's throat as she pulled away. "Good morning, Draco." 

A smirk played on his lips as he slowly opened his eyes, staring into her own. "It's not morning." 

Confused, Hermione looked to the clock over the fireplace. It read six a.m. It might not be completely morning and no one was awake yet, but it was definitely morning. "What do you mean?" 

His smirk became a smile. Moving his face, his lips kissed her ear, causing Hermione to shiver at the feeling. "Because if it's morning," he whispered, "then that means I have to get up off of the couch to get ready for the day. To be completely honest, Raven. I'm not ready to let you go." 

Hermione smiled at his words, her heart skipping a beat. "Why, Mr. Malfoy. If you're not careful, someone will think you're taken with me."
He leaned back onto the couch, "I'm more then taken with you Ms. Raven. I'm head over heels for you." 

Even though she had a good idea that was coming and that it was part of her plan, it still shocked her to hear him actually say it. At first she didn't know what to say. Her brain was instinctively trying to come up with something to say. But, before she could decide what was the best thing to reply, her mind did it for her. "I'm taken with you too."
He looked surprised by her words as they became silent. However, that only lasted about two minutes, for as soon the words and their meaning finally sank in, his face broke out into complete joy. A large smile spread across his face making him look almost normal…if you can believe that. Before that second, Hermione had never seen anything so wonderful in her entire life. 

Composing himself, Draco wrapped his arms around Hermione and lifted them both to a sitting position, sitting her across his lap. "Then, with that in mind. I have a quick question." 

Hermione suddenly felt cold. She knew exactly what he was going to ask and she didn't know exactly how she felt about that. "Which is?" She hoped he thought her shaky voice was from nerves of what he was going to ask, not what she was afraid she'd say. 

"Would you like to go to Hogsmeade with me today?" His voice was strong, sure. 

Like a bolt of lightning, Hermione had her answer. "No." 

This threw Draco. "No?" 

Hermione smirked and got up off his lap and started to head towards the girl's staircase. "No." 

Draco stood up from the couch, looking particularly sexy in his baggy sleep pants and tee. "Why not? And where are you going?" 

She giggled lightly to herself. This frightened her slightly. Hermione has never giggled a day in her life. "I'm going to get ready for my daily run." 

She was climbing the stairs when a pair of strong arms circled her waist, pulling her back to the common room. Before she was able to respond to his rude behavior, he kissed her deeply, making her brain go to mush. It was strange how this guy that she hated for so many years could make her legs go weak and her busy brain shut up. It was bad enough that she didn't think her heart could take much for of the skipping beats and fast pace. There was only so much she could take before her heart just said bloody hell. 

Then, as quick as it came, Draco broke the kiss and ran up the boys' staircase, leaving Hermione standing there like an idiot as her brain tried to catch up. Once it finally did, she started to blush uncontrollably as she began to go up the stairs again. If there was one thing that she knew, it was that Draco bloody Malfoy was going to be the death of her. Probably soon. 

The clearing in the Forbidden Forest was still as perfect as the day that Hermione first found it. As part of her routine, she would spend the last five minutes of her run sitting on the warm rock in the middle of the space; thinking about all of her problems or just to relax. Today, she found her mind constantly floating back to her biggest problem of all. 

"Draco Malfoy, what have you done to me?" She whispered to the beautiful clearing, not expecting an answer. 

With the little free time she had to be herself, she would spend it all completely relaxed with her shields down. Here, at this empty clearing that no one knew about, was the best place to do that. She would never have to stress over anyone seeing her or catching her doing something she shouldn't. That being known, she knew this was the perfect place to speak out loud about her little heartache. 

"Oh, I wish something out there could give me some help. Here I am, doing what I'm supposed to and my heart just has to get in the way… I never wanted this to happen! I was never meant to fall in love with Draco. I was only supposed to get him interested. Now what am I supposed to do? Merlin, this is so frustrating!" It might seem a little odd to most people that she was talking to herself, but in her situation there was no other option. 

As her question went unanswered, she decided that since there was no one to help her she might as well head back to the school. Even if she had to pretend to be Onyx Raven again, at least she had human interaction. So, leaping off of the rock, she started her run back to the school, not noticing that she left her jacket by the rock. 

Unbeknownst to Hermione, said Malfoy was watching her the whole time, sitting behind a tree. Not only could he see every mood she made, he could hear everything she said. Including the part that she was doing what she was told and that she was meant to get him interested. And to be honest, he didn't like what he heard. 

That is, until she said she was in love with him. That made him feel light and happy. No one had ever told him they loved him before. Even though she technically didn't tell him, she at least admitted it. That was better then nothing, he supposed. As she began to run back to the school, he watched her form until she was out of eyesight, making a mental note to find out what she meant by her words. Before he managed to begin heading towards the school himself, something caught his eye in the clearing. Confused, he walked toward the object. It was her jacket, she must have left it when she left. With a sigh, he picked it up and decided to bring it back to the school. Even if he couldn't give it to her himself, he could find some way to get it back to her. 

Satisfied that it was time to go back to the school, he took one more quick look at the peaceful clearing, finding himself sad to go. Draco hated leaving the clearing to go back to the pathetic excuse for a school. There he'd have to go through the days knowing what was coming at the end of the year. That was almost unbearable. Then, as soon as that thought ran through his mind, he began to become scared. Yes, he Draco Malfoy was scared. Not for himself. No, he knew he would be fine. The Dark Lord and his father reassured him of that. No, he found himself scared for the one person he truly cared about at this school. 

Onyx Raven. 

He never expected for her to walk into his life and quite honestly, it was inconvenient for her to do so. So much was going on right now that finding your soul mate was terrible timing. But, life threw him a curveball and even though he knew that it was terrible to have right now, he couldn't say he wasn't happy. The girl was amazing and everything that he's always wanted. Even he, the cold-hearted Slytherin Prince, wanted to find love one day. 

He just didn't think that it would be so soon. Fate, it seemed, did not agree with him.
Finally surrendering to the will to leave, he turned to leave the clearing, only to run smack into Onyx Raven. She apparently came back to get the jacket she forgot. Accusation flashed in her eyes, right after another emotion disappeared. At first he thought it was fear, but then reassured himself that it must have been surprise. Now, it seemed, she decided to be angry with him. 

That wasn't good. "Raven. I… just…" He had no idea what to say. Oh, sorry. I was stalking you in the shadows and watching your every move and when I saw you left your jacket I was going to bring it back to the school and somehow manage to get it back to you without you knowing it was me. That just didn't seem like it would go very well. 

Her hand snapped out and swiped the jacket from his hand so quickly that he didn't notice until she was sliding it on. "How dare you, Draco Malfoy! What gives you the right to spy on me? Did you follow me here? Did you!" 

Attempting to smirk (and failing), he tried to make it seem like it wasn't that big of a deal. "Not really, but when I came outside for a walk, I saw you run into the forest and I got curious. I just followed you to see what you were up to." 

This did not make her any happier. "So, you did follow me? You arsehole!" 

Her body was shaking uncontrollably as the flowers around her started to wither and die. She was getting mad and Draco definitely wasn't making it any better. He raised his hands in surrender. "Hey, I apologize. I didn't mean to interfere." 

"Well, you did! You are the most untrustworthy gargoyle I've ever met! And that is saying something considering where I come from! You have no idea how much I want to hurt you right now!" 

Draco was starting to lose his temper at her angry words. Sure, he shouldn't have followed her, but she was stepping overboard. Besides, no one yelled at a Malfoy. Not even her. "Why are you making this such a big deal? What are you hiding, Onyx? Doing something you aren't supposed to? I heard what you said! What are you hiding for me?" 

Hermione was beyond words. Not only because she didn't know how to reply. That might be true, but she was seriously burned that he would follow her. That was sneaky and wrong, even for a ferret like him. So, she reacted the only way she wanted to. She let Onyx Raven take over completely. Her left hand snapped forward, connecting with Draco's jaw. The impact snapped his head back and sent him falling onto the ground with blood dripping from his lip. 

Once the first wave of rage began to subside, Hermione found that she was finally able to speak. "You have no idea what you are talking about, Malfoy. No idea. So don't go around making assumptions about something you are not familiar with." 

Draco watched as she turned on her heel to stomp back to the castle. He knew at that moment that if he wanted any hope of being with her in the future, he had to say something right then and there. He had to stop her. Unfortunately, it probably wasn't the smartest thing to say. 

"I love you too, Raven." 

She stopped dead in her tracks, keeping her back to him. He didn't know if her shaking was out of anger or something else entirely. But, he knew that he didn't like not being over there holding her. Considering what had just happened, he figured that wasn't the smartest move right now. So he stayed where he was and hoped she wouldn't turn around to attempt to throw a curse at him. That was the last thing he needed. 

Finally, after what seemed like forever, she turned around and looked him dead in the eye. He was startled when he found that her shaking hadn't been from anger. She had been crying. He either hurt her or shocked her with his confession. He hoped it was the latter and not the former. 

They just stood there staring at each other, Draco rubbing his jaw and Hermione letting her tears fall freely. Neither of them knew what to say. There probably was nothing to be said. The only thing either of them could think to do was stay still. That way neither of them would have to make the first move. 

That didn't last long, for Hermione finally broke eye contact and looked down to the ground. Her voice was soft and etched with pain as she spoke. "Since you heard me earlier you know I love you as well. I know I shouldn't but I just can't seem to stop." 

Draco lifted himself slowly off of the ground and walked up to Hermione, stopping a foot away for good measure. "Then why can't we be together? What are you afraid of?" 

Her tears starting falling again as she looked up at his face. A realization dawning behind her eyes. "You." 

Her whisper vibrating in his ears as she turned and sprinted away as fast as she could. He didn't want her to be afraid of him. He didn't want her to run from him… he wanted her with him. With that piece of knowledge that he felt in his head and in his heart, he did the logical thing. 

He ran after her.

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